I got surprisingly emotional at That Ending that everyone is always talking about. I still don't think the series does a very good job at explaining tI got surprisingly emotional at That Ending that everyone is always talking about. I still don't think the series does a very good job at explaining the society's motivations for its decisions, and too often characters have equally murky reasons for their choices. The plot became overly complicated leading up to the big showdown, like (view spoiler)[sending a group back to Chicago to try and inoculate some of the residents when the entire plan hinged on that being unnecessary because they would stop the reset anyway (hide spoiler)], but I still found the resolution to be mostly successful....more
While I can understand a lot of the complaints I've seen in other reviews, I thought this was engaging and unique. I liked both Justin and Mae as leadWhile I can understand a lot of the complaints I've seen in other reviews, I thought this was engaging and unique. I liked both Justin and Mae as lead characters I could root for, and Tessa added warmth to an otherwise chilling narrative. Yes, some aspects of the world could have been explained better - and sooner - but Mead did a great job selling it as the norm, so I went along with it. The book had a nice mystery that resolved itself by the end, giving me the answers I needed to feel satisfied while also setting up new challenges for later books. ...more
Well, the ending to The Passage was exciting enough that I felt The Twelve was worth a try. I wasn’t going to spend money on it, but I’d put a hold on the ebook at the library and see what happened. If it didn’t hook me in the first 50 pages, then I could just accept that this wasn’t the series for me and go on my merry way.
So I put it on hold, and when the hold came through, I started reading.
And it completely hooked me.
THIS was the book I wanted to read when I was promised literary-style vampires. THIS was the book I wanted to read when I was promised post-apocalyptic viral mayhem. THIS was 100 times better than The Passage.
Though we are, frustratingly, introduced to even MORE new characters in this book, at least these characters didn’t stumble around incoherently through 50 pages of backstory for each one of them. We also get to spend the majority of the book with characters we know from the first book, and they get to do way more interesting things. I’m still not a huge fan of the author’s stylistic choices, but the narrative switches bothered me much less in this book.
Justin Cronin is juggling a large timeline (100 years or so), multiple locations separated by hundreds of miles, and an enormous cast of characters. While I found the scope to be somewhat disjointed in book one, here some of the puzzle pieces start to fall into place. He has certainly earned my trust that all of my investment in his world will pay off.
In this book, we slide one generation back in time to see some important lead-ins to the current action, and we also get to see a new side of Year Zero. This time around we actually experience the viral outbreak and its immediate consequences on the population. I absolutely loved seeing the government side of the story and how they tried to balance their resources in the face of a society-ending plague. How would they try to quarantine large sections of the country? Who would they sacrifice for the greater good? What would happen to the world economy and foreign relations? These are the kinds of questions I enjoy exploring in post-apocalyptic fiction, and Cronin finally delivers.
The mysteries and objectives facing the characters were thrilling. I was swept up in the story, and found myself trusting Cronin to lead us to where we needed to be. My familiarity with the main characters put me at ease while reading, but the new challenges they faced had me on edge. Life is bleak in this world, and just when you think you know where things are going they take a right turn into a new surprise. It’s very much an enjoyable ride.
Action-packed mayhem, deepening plot mysteries, and strong characters make this a book well worth a read. If you can slog your way through the first book, The Twelve will reward you in spades. I will absolutely be reading the final book when it releases next year, and it can’t get here soon enough....more
*EDIT 3/20/13 - No sooner had I given up and returned the hardcover library copy than I received an email that my ebook library hold for this title wa*EDIT 3/20/13 - No sooner had I given up and returned the hardcover library copy than I received an email that my ebook library hold for this title was available. I took it as a sign to push on and see if I could finish, so I'm back into this today.
*EDIT 3/21/13 - Finished! I actually liked the ending, and I'm curious about the sequel now. I think taking a break to read something quick and fun was a good idea, because I came back to this without the boredom slowly beating me to death as before. Final verdict is: great beginning, good end, horrible middle.
ORIGINAL REVIEW 3/16/13:
Well, I made it through 540 of the 766 pages in this behemoth. What a disappointment.
The first 200 or so pages were terrific. I didn't mind the slow pace because the characters were interesting and the story was intriguing.
Once we fast forwarded to post-apocalyptic life on the Colony, however, things ground to a halt. New, bland, barely distinguishable characters live boring and uneventful lives. When exciting events do occur, we often get the action in narrative shifts that completely remove any trace of tension, such as accounts told as journal entries or memories. Most of these events could easily have unfolded as part of the regular narrative, and the distance created from these shifts made me care even less about the story.
Where was the fear in these people? They've lived for almost a hundred years in a compound to keep out the virals, and yet they never seem scared. It was mind numbingly boring to wait for something even mildly tense to happen. After 200 more pages, when they finally have an objective, they set off without hesitation or fear.
I didn't buy the cultural and linguistic changes that Cronin created for the Colony, either. After only 92 years, we've forgotten the concept of the ocean or basic geography? We're calling kids "Littles" and not just "children"? We've invented a new curse word and abandoned all others? We still know how to use stethoscopes and provide medical care, but we've stopped telling time?
Though I liked the mystery around Amy and the virus, this boring and tension-free writing made me throw in the towel. I'll wait for the movie....more
It was great to come back to this series after so much time passed since I read book 2. I thought Lauren Oliver did a great job of tying up loose endsIt was great to come back to this series after so much time passed since I read book 2. I thought Lauren Oliver did a great job of tying up loose ends and bringing the story to a natural and authentic conclusion. I loved that there is room for this story to live on - we can imagine lots of different scenarios in which these characters continued to move forward - but we still got an ending that should satisfy most readers. ...more
This was a really fun and exciting dystopian. Callie is willing, in order to keep her brother alive and healthy, to rent her physical self to a high-tThis was a really fun and exciting dystopian. Callie is willing, in order to keep her brother alive and healthy, to rent her physical self to a high-tech (and high paying) company that allows someone else to take over her body. She thinks she's signed up for a simple transaction - but things are never what they seem. She's quickly stumbling onto conspiracies and being dragged into illegal activities, as well as falling in love.
The action is fast-paced and electrifying. The world is well thought out, and I appreciate that Price explains just enough for us to get some history without having to ramble on at inappropriate moments or interrupt the narrative. The book flows nicely and I'm really looking forward to the sequel, out later this year....more
First impressions: The initial scenes in this book are dark, futuristic, and set up the conflict surrounding the world. Aria and some friends break inFirst impressions: The initial scenes in this book are dark, futuristic, and set up the conflict surrounding the world. Aria and some friends break into a compound in their city of Reverie, where everyone stays indoors for fear of disease and death in the atmosphere outside and communicates through SmartEye devices that allow virtual interaction in various imagined worlds. When the break-in goes horribly awry, Aria finds herself in danger and is saved by a tattooed tribal man from the outside real world, although this has even more profound consequences.
Lasting impressions: I think some more information on the rules of these worlds and societies would have made this reading experience more enjoyable. Though the mix of sci-fi and fantasy elements seemed interesting at first, by the end it all seemed like too many different ideas thrown into a giant mixing bowl, muddying the entire concept.
Conflicting impressions: If you're going to have a book about two characters falling in love, it helps if they have chemistry. I did not connect at all with either Aria or Perry, so their love story became something of a snooze.
Overall impressions: I'm having the hardest time pinpointing what it is that didn't work for me in this book. There were lots of individual elements that were interesting and exciting - the stormy Aether atmosphere, the Blood Lords and the tribal sensory enhancements, the Dwellers and their futuristic SmartEyes - but somehow when it all got put together it created a book that got bogged down by the weight of all of these Big Ideas.
Aria is a nice enough main character. She's strong, gets by mostly without complaining, despite some pretty awful situations. Perry is more interesting in that he has this heightened sense of smell and is constantly at odds with his Blood Lord brother. He spends most of the book nobly trying to save his nephew, but treats Aria pretty brusquely. I knew at some point these characters were going to fall in love, because that's the way things work in books, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out why they would want to be together. They didn't seem to connect in any realistic way.
At the end there are some reveals that are a bit predictable, and set up some action for the future, but overall this book didn't pack enough punch for me. I didn't have enough information to fully invest in either the characters or the worlds they were fighting, so it ended up falling a bit flat....more